Monday, August 18, 2008

I don't know. I'm not sure why. Someone as reticent as me shouldn't be writing a blog. I'm pretty damn guarded about my life and my privacy is a priority. People often don't know what I'm up to because I don't like answering questions with, "This is what I'm gonna do"; I'd rather say, "This is what I'm doing" or "This is what I did." I'm not trying to build mystery. I'm not calculating my enigma. I simply like to shut up about myself and listen to others speak. I often prefer doing social things in threes or more so I can let the other two or more do the talking. I'm content to observe. I don't speak at the dinner table with my family (for a few reasons that I might or might not tell you about... remember, I'm a private guy), preferring instead to listen to my parents and sisters do the chatting.

But you know what? I'm pretty damn fucking arrogant and all I need to keep me occupied forever and ever is a drink, a chair, and my thoughts about myself. My introspection paralyses me; it's the reason why it can take me a decade to finish reading a novel -- every five sentences make me pause to daydream about how the text reflects on my own life, conjuring up memories akin to the stuff in the text. When I read a book, I spend more time daydreaming than I do reading. I like short stories.

About ten years ago -- I'm not yet thirty -- I was spending some time with a girl from work. She said, with knitted brows and squinted eyes, exuding examination, "I don't know anything about you." I said thanks.

So why the fuck start a blog? Who the fuck is Norman Yeung? You're not gonna find out here. Maybe. Maybe not. I'm not sure how personal I'm gonna get with this blog. I'd resisted starting a blog for years because honestly, I'm not interested. I can't contribute an entry every day. I can't even respond to e-mails or Facebook this-n-that for weeks or months at a time. Why? 'Cause I'm busy and lazy and irresponsible. So why start a blog? I dunno... Maybe to advertise my website, kinda like a supplementary vitamin to aid the absorption of another, like D and A in milk (I think). Maybe to fortify one, buttress the other. Maybe to share my work, which I sincerely enjoy doing. Maybe to share my thoughts, which may or may not be personal. Or maybe to just goof off with my ongoing project -- artistic and otherwise -- which is an inquiry into identity and notoriety and self-made celebrity, like The Captain in Vancouver whose commercials and sail-on-top-of-car turned him into our favorite oddball pawnshop seaman.

Maybe this is a turning point in my life as I mature -- I'm not yet thirty -- and my relationship with myself has become less damning. Maybe I'm a bit looser now and accepting of frayed ends and broken narratives; I now realise that I cannot manipulate everything in my life to become pat. About ten years ago -- I'm not yet thirty -- I was happy to say that I'd never had a falling out with friends, my disappointments and regrets were few, and all my secrets remained secret. Now I am older and some friends have drifted like flotsam, I regret my disappointment, and for my artistic work to be honest I necessarily have to confess publicly. As I leave my twenties I feel an increasing affinity to China: obsessively controlling of how I'm represented, vascillating between gregarious bravado and modest/fearful clandestinity, and opening up. Selectively.

Coincidentally, my favourite person with whom to debate about China and empires is Gareth. He is English, which explains everything. And in regards to me, he also explains everything:

GARETH: ...and so we... Never mind.
NORMAN: What happened?
GARETH: I'm not telling.
NORMAN: What happened?
GARETH: I'm trying something new.
GARETH: I'm gonna be like you.
NORMAN: Like me?
GARETH: Not saying anything.
NORMAN: I say stuff.
GARETH: You never say anything. I tell you everything...
NORMAN: I tell stuff.
GARETH: ...And when I ask you, you say nothing.
NORMAN: I say stuff.
GARETH: Naw, it's not fair. You don't like people asking you about you.
NORMAN: Dude, go ahead and ask me anything you want. Anything. I just might not answer.

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